The benefits of a distributed aerodynamic force measurement system has a number of benefits: (1) addresses uncertainties in aerodynamics for safe envelope prediction, (2) increases controller robustness: reduces dependency on aerodynamic and structural uncertainties, (3) increases aerostructural efficiency, (4) enables mission persistence at a lower cost. For example, degradation due to atmospheric effects such as moisture and fatigue caused by constant wing stresses provides significant risk over the life of a HALE-type UAV, e.g., DARPA Vulture. Longevity of components is also a major technological risk. Using extremely high aspect ratios reduces drag. The system can utilize turbulence control for further aerodynamic efficiency.
The ability to cruise efficiently at a range of altitudes, enabled by a substantial increase in cruise lift-to- drag (L/D) ratios over today's high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft, is vital, providing sustained presence and long range. Aerodynamic load/moment sensors would enable the efficient, robust active control of adaptive, lightweight wings to optimize lift distribution to maximize L/D. Cost-effectively improving the energy capture and reliability of wind turbines would help national renewable energy initiatives. A standalone aerodynamic load/moment sensor could provide output for control feedback to mitigate the turbine blade lifetime-limiting time varying loads generated by the ambient wind.